I met Mrs. Schlafly only once. When we lived on Cape Cod, every January Diane and I would join our pastor, Fr. Gerry Shovelton, and others from our parish and go to Washington, D.C. for the annual March for Life. And every October we would make the much shorter trip to Boston for Respect Life Sunday. This latter event included a gathering with speeches and entertainment on the Boston Common followed by a walk of several miles through the streets of the city. It was at this gathering in October 2001 that Diane and I met Phyllis Schlafly. She kindly posed for this photo during our meeting.
An attorney, more accurately, a constitutional lawyer, she was a woman of uncompromising beliefs who nevertheless expressed those beliefs with charity and understanding toward those who disagreed with her. I believe it was this attitude, driven by love, that made her such a successful champion of the causes that were important to her. She would simply and clearly explain the facts relevant to a particular issue and do so without rancor or accusation, and then wait for your response. She always had the truth on her side, so it was extremely difficult to disagree with her and not look foolish. A woman of great faith, she was also one of our nation's most passionate defenders of the unborn, and through her writings will continue to change minds and hearts for years to come.
When I think of Phyllis Schlafly I place her on the same stage with such truth-seeking and truth-speaking conservatives as Russell Kirk and William F. Buckley and Ronald Reagan. A firm believer in conservative principle and "the permanent things," she certainly had as much impact on conservative thought over the past 50 years as did these luminaries.
She is perhaps best known for her almost single-handed defeat of the so-called Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) after it had passed overwhelmingly with strong bi-partisan support in both houses of Congress. Mrs. Schlafly convinced enough Americans, mostly woman, that the ERA would actually remove many of the protections women had in our society and add very little benefit. I've included below a brief video of her appearance on William F. Buckley's Firing Line to discuss ERA.
We will miss the wonderful words of Phyllis Schlafly, but mostly we will miss her.
May almighty God bless her; may His face shine upon her and be gracious to her; may He look upon her with kindness and give her peace.
And may she rest eternally in the loving embrace of the God she served so well.